La Cangreja National Park

Conserving and sustainably using our natural treasure with people and communities
La Cangreja National Park is located in the province of San José, Puriscal Canton, Mercedes Sur and Chires districts, between the coordinates: N 4956392 O.  1072932. The main entrance is located 21.7 Miles (35 kilometers) south east of the city of Santiago de Puriscal.
The Cangreja refers to the characteristic shape of the Mountain which is located at its highest point at 0.81 Miles (1.305 meters) above sea level, site of great beauty scenic and panoramic, which according to an indigenous history the mountain resembles a Crab and the hills beside the pinchers of the same. The park protects abundant and crystalline water sources like the Río Negro and Quebrada Grande, between rock formations carved by nature that allow visitors to enjoy and relax while bathing or simply contemplate.
The current park area is 2.570 hectares, in which there are 44 species of endemic plants of Costa Rica, highlighting two endemic species of the area: the Ayenia mastatalensis (Sterculiaceae) and Plinia puriscalensis (Myrtaceae), the latter stands to produce fruit on the tree trunk that can be seen during the month of August.
The park has over 300 species of birds, such as lapas, trogones, toucans, sunbird, kettles and more. In the area includes animals like guatusas, pizotes, tepezcuintles, sainos, deer, pumas, ocelots, black green poison frogs, among others.
It has a maximum elevation of 4,281 feet (1305 m) above sea level and a minimum of 984 feet (300 meters) above sea level, reaching temperatures between 75,02 Farenheit (24 ° C)  and 104 Farenheit (40 ° C). Its average annual precipitation ranges from 7,87 feet to 11,4 feet (2400 to 3500 mm).
It was established via Decree 30479-MINAE on June 5, 2003, with an area of 2519 ha.

Opening hours:


Every day from 8am to 4pm (last entry at 2pm).



National or Residents
  • Adults ¢1.000 +iva
  • 2 to 12 years old children ¢500 +iva
Adults must present identity card when entering the park.


Adults over 65 years old do not pay the entrance by presenting identity card.



  • Adults $10 +iva
  • Children $5 +iva


Currently, for the entry and payment of tickets, only payments by credit or debit card are accepted.




• Trails
• Sightseeing place
• Local guides (they are not part of park staff)

• Rio Negro and Plinia Trail: La Cangreja National Park currently has enabled a primary linear trail called Río Negro, about 3,72 miles (6 km) long (total of 7,44 round miles - 12 round kilometers -  and return), which allows you to know and enjoy the river crystal waters, observe plants, trees and hopefully part of the varied wildlife and animals that inhabit this region, also goes through different streams and water sources that give much flashiness and freshness to travel. In addition it is also available the Plinia trail intertwined with Rio Negro trail and can be walk in 8 shaped or circular figures, going through Quebrada grande and important areas of primary forest.
Río Negro trail whole distance is approximately 4 hours, according to an average of 20 minutes per each kilometer. The composition of the base of the trail is mineral soil and has a maximum slope of 70%. The main attraction of the trail is the River Río Negro, El Encanto waterfall and natural water pools in La Cangreja creek. This trail is ideal for bird watching, hiking and trail run, visited mainly by families, birdwatchers and sunbathers. The flow of visitors on the site is low.
• Cascadas: topography and broken relief of Cerro La Cangreja gives rise not only to Rio Negro but also to several streams, which in a very short distance down from the 3,280 feet (1000 meters) to 984 feet (300 meters), which combined with the rock formations of sedimentary origin form small waterfalls with crystal clear waters and scenic beauty, some of which can be observed and enjoyed by walking park trails.
• Río Negro: it is the main tributary originated at the top of the park, from hydrologic point of view it is very important because it allows the birth and preservation of a series of streams, highlighting Quebrada Grande Grande with permanent water throughout the year, used today for human consumption by some surrounding communities.  
• Cerro La Cangreja: this is a rock formation in the park, located between 2,952 feet (900 meters) and 4,265 feet (1300 meters), same which is named so due an Indian story that said that in that place, decades ago, when the Indians used to go there on one of their routes, appeared a giant crab that prevented them from passing, so the tribe chief (cacique) fought against it hurting it, so it gave up its struggle and took refuge in this area becoming the rock formation atop the hill. Also those who have seen it from heaven or in front of the hill at the southern end, said it has a shape or likeness to a crab.
• Outstanding Flora: There are over a thousand species of plants and trees, which stand 44 species of endemic plants of Costa Rica (INBio-SINAC, 2002). And especially two endemic species in the area: Plinia puriscalensis (Myrtaceae) and Ayenia mastatalensis (Sterculiaceae), which highlights the Plinia to produce fruit in the tree that can be seen during the month of August. The park is also habitat of species of great beauty due their size, flowering or types of wood such as; Nazarenes, cristobal, buzzards, monkey pot, yellow cortez, boot branch, May, Guanacaste, amarillon, sura, iguano, kapok, among others.
• Outstanding Fauna: there are more than 300 species of birds, such as Lapas, trogones, toucans, sunbird, kettles, honeymooners, and more. And animals like guatuzas, pizotes, deer, black green poison frogs, lizards and others.


  • Enjoy nature properly, do not touch plants or wildlife.
  • Help us keep parks clean, do not leave garbage or footprint of your visit.
  • We invite you to walk the trails, ideally to have a health and physical condition through terrain with varied topography in ascents and descents. If you need information, ask the officers when you arrive at the entrance office.
  • Bring water bottle, hat, shoes field, long-sleeved light clothing and sunscreen because it is a place with considerable temperatures and usually many hours of sun light.
  • When visiting a National Park remember, it is forbidden to feed wild animals, and enter with pets.
  • Smoking or drinking alcohol is not permitted at protected areas.